I made a bad financial decision in regard to my business last July when I changed brokerages.
I thought that being affiliated with a local name brand brokerage would help me weather the tough real estate market, better than being affiliated with a different name brand brokerage quite a distance from my target market.
I couldn't have been more wrong, and it was a very expensive mistake.
At my previous office, I was making a phenomenal commmission. Trust me when I say it's almost too good to be true. I work from home so the distance from this office to my house wasn't an issue. Escrow was directly deposited and all documents were either PDF'd or faxed to-and-from. It was a great arrangement, but I just had to mess with a good thing. Stupid... stupid... stupid!
I had often wondered if the 30 miles from the Elmwood Park IL office to my target market in Plainfield IL was costing me business, so I made a business decision to try to increase my local exposure by joining a local office in town.
This was an expensive and time consuming mistake just to find out one important thing: It's the agent that makes the difference!
My market suffered huge losses as foreclosures, short sales, and REO properties over took the market. The new office did not offer much more in the way of support and training than I had been receiving before, but my cost of doing business had increased by about 800% through fees, commission splits and the change over for my marketing. I thought that a new level of productivity would compensate for these costs but sadly, it hasn't even come close. I'm going back to my previous office next Wednesday, April 1st.
I have had to pave a new path in the market to remain active and profitable. I have expanded my services to include the rental market and have gone back to doing short sales. When I realized that I am the one who dictates how busy and profitable I am, it made me realize that I deserved to keep more of the money that I earned. My leads come from my referrals, my websites, my blogging, and my efforts.
I think that blogging and the Internet, in addition to tools like Active Rain, make it possible to rely less heavily on a traditional office setting. If you think about it, your main place of business is probably located on 4 wheels and sitting in your very own driveway!
I thought it was important to remind the agents out there to consider what is important in this market: Delivering great customer service to your peers, your clients, your customers, and your community. If you continue to concentrate on this, the logo next to your name will seem less and less significant.
To the buyers and sellers out there: Remember, your agent is the one working to help you with your real estate needs, not the logo attached to their business card. Real estate has changed over the last 5-10 years, make sure you are working with an agent who has kept up with the changes!